Warhammer 40,000: Darktide eliminates scripted heroes from Warhammer: Vermintide 2 and replaces them with player-created characters, allowing the player to choose their own origin, personality, and class. This makes for some fantastic barking and witty banter, but it also gives players a welcome chance to double down on helpful roles instead of forcing each party member to be unique.
While most of these characters are fun to hang out with, it’s hard to get a sense of how they actually play without taking them into level-up matches and unlocking their signature arsenals. Based on developer Fatshark’s previous work, it’s safe to expect more balance changes, as well as new classes and archetypes as eventual DLC. But for now, here’s how the class list stacks up in The oil spilllaunch period.
The Veteran is a member of the Imperial Guard, reduced to prisoner status and freed only by the luck of being in the right place at the right time. Don’t feel too bad for the veteran, as he currently sits at the top of the reject pile. Their basic fantasy is very easy to explain and understand: they are real good at the gun. Right now, they’re good at everything else too.
The chainsword is a powerful melee tool for cutting through hordes of baddies like a knife through butter, and of course the veteran has access to an arsenal of ranged weapons as well. Their combat stance highlights special enemies, making them adept at taking out priority targets like Poxbursters or Scab Snipers. Although, unlike the damage-dealing Psyker, they require a lot of ammo, they are also much less glass cannon than their fellow. Right now, the veteran is good across the board and a reliable pick at any level of play.
The Ogryn is an interesting contrast to the Veteran. While the latter is a jack-of-all-trades, the Ogryn is specifically a master of being a big chunky tank. His shield gives him a powerful tool to deal with the toughest enemies in the game (like the Daemonhost), absorbing damage and blocking staggers. There are few better feelings in The oil spill than blocking a choke point with the Ogryn, having your snipers around to find clear shots, and holding the line while your comrades rip through the heretics within reach.
The Ogryn’s great strengths are coupled with obvious great weaknesses. He’s an unwieldy guy, and without a Veteran or Psyker by his side, he’ll struggle against Snipers, Poxbursters, and Gunners. Its explosive strength does not carry over to long-range solutions, making the Ogryn the ultimate team player.
The Psyker triumphs at lower game levels and is one of the most fun classes to use right now. Instead of a grenade, the Psyker uses a brain blast to blast a Heretic’s head off in a shower of gore and green smoke. After a few levels, they swap their weapon for a Force Staff that fires Palpatine lightnings or displays of psychic force.
The Psyker takes more work to play than the Veteran, largely thanks to the Peril system. As the Psyker casts, its Peril increases. At 100%, they have the annoying tendency to explode. They also get a stacking buff whenever they kill an enemy with a brain blast. This buff slowly decreases over time unless they keep popping. The Psyker is high-maintenance, squishy, and drops at higher levels — but it’s also the most satisfying class in my book.
Here we are with the weakest Reject of the current crew: the Zealot. The Zealot lags the Veteran in damage taken, the Ogryn in frontline utility, and the Psyker in eliminating priority targets. There are changes I can see making the Zealot more engaging – perhaps giving their special ability a lockout, a la Vanguard in Mass Effect 3co-op, or upgrading their melee warhammers to get ahead of the veteran.
Although the Zealot is my favorite class in terms of sheer flavor – I chuckle every time my Zealot roars praises to the God-Emperor with the fervor of a Twitch streamer – the class is just… OK. The flamethrower is fun and the warhammer has a meaty swing, but if you forced me to take out one of the classes, it would be the Zealot.